Advertisement for the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West at Athletic Park in Washington, DC – National Republican, June 20th, 1885
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Following up on the previous two advertisements for events at Athletic Park, is this advertisement for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. I first learned of William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody when I was a child as we drove through the town he founded, Cody, Wyoming, while en route to Yellowstone National Park. I bet this show would be have been a lot of fun to watch.
Advertisement for Adam Forepaugh’s Circus in Athletic Park, Washington, DC – The National Republican, April 11, 1885
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Following up on yesterday’s advertisement for the Barnum and London Circus, is this advertisement for Adam Forepaugh’s circus appeared in the same newspaper about one year later.
According to Wikipedia:
Forepaugh was different from most of his fellow circus operators at the time. Already independently wealthy when he entered the circus business, he was much less a showman and much more a businessman — a stark contrast to P. T. Barnum and the Ringling Brothers. He was intimately involved in all aspects of the circus business. He would regularly seat himself at the main entrance into the circus, making sure his face was seen by all. Through the 1870’s and into the 1880’s, Forepaugh and P. T. Barnum had the two largest circuses in the nation. Forepaugh actually had more animals than Barnum and generally paid higher salaries to the much-favored European talent. The two men constantly fought each other over rights to perform in the most-favored venues.
They signed truces in 1882, 1884, and 1887, dividing the country into exclusive territories to avoid disputes. But at least twice, they decided to pool their resources and perform together. In 1880, Forepaugh and Barnum combined their shows for a Philadelphia engagement. In 1887, Forepaugh obtained permission to perform in Madison Square Garden, a venue that Barnum considered to be exclusively his. A compromise was negotiated, and once again the two circuses presented a combined performance.
In 1889, Forepaugh sold his circus acts to James A. Bailey and James E. Cooper and he sold his railroad cars to the Ringling Brothers. The Ringlings used the equipment to transform their circus from a small animal-powered production to a huge rail-powered behemoth, which later purchased the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Thus, in liquidating his circus assets, he indirectly contributed to the demise of his arch-rival.
Its probably safe to assume that they also competed to secure the use of Athletic Park in Washington, DC as well.
Advertisement for the Barnum and London Circus in Athletic Park, Washington, DC – The National Republican, May 3rd, 1884
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Over the years I’ve attempted to document bits and pieces of my neighborhood’s 100+ year history on this digital scrapbook. From a bird’s eye view of my neighborhood in 1885 to a map of my neighborhood in 1921, I’ve tried to learn as much about where I’ve been living as possible. Its hard not to when you realize that long after we are gone, the houses in this neighborhood will probably still remain.
The educational starting point was this article about my neighborhood history, which I pretty much copied in my first entry, and now that I have access to the thousands upon thousands of newspaper articles that were published around the time of the neighborhood’s development, I’m able to find some rather new and unique facets of my neighborhood’s history.
In time, I hope more old newspapers come on-line that show what happened on the land prior to 1884, but in the meantime, I’ll post more unique items that I find.
+ Read more about White Elephants
+ Read more about Jumbo the Elephant